Kenya's Health Workforce Information System: A model of impact on strategic human resources policy, planning and management
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MEDICAL INFORMATICS
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - USA, Ctr Dis Control & Prevent, Kenya Hlth Work Force Project, Minist Med Serv
Objective: Countries worldwide are challenged by health worker shortages, skill mix imbalances, and maldistribution. Human resources information systems (HRIS) are used to monitor and address these health workforce issues, but global understanding of such systems is minimal and baseline information regarding their scope and capability is practically non-existent. The Kenya Health Workforce Information System (KHWIS) has been identified as a promising example of a functioning HRIS. The objective of this paper is to document the impact of KHWIS data on human resources policy, planning and management.
Methods: Sources for this study included semi-structured interviews with senior officials at Kenya's Ministry of Medical Services (MOMS), Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation (MOPHS), the Department of Nursing within MOMS, the Nursing Council of Kenya, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, Kenya's Clinical Officers Council, and Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board. Additionally, quantitative data were extracted from KHWIS databases to supplement the interviews. Health sector policy documents were retrieved from MOMS and MOPHS websites, and reviewed to assess whether they documented any changes to policy and practice as having been impacted by KHWIS data.
Results: Interviews with Kenyan government and regulatory officials cited health workforce data provided by KHWIS influenced policy, regulation, and management. Policy changes include extension of Kenya's age of mandatory civil service retirement from 55 to 60 years. Data retrieved from KHWIS document increased relicensing of professional nurses, midwives, medical practitioners and dentists, and interviewees reported this improved compliance raised professional regulatory body revenues. The review of Government records revealed few references to KHWIS; however, documentation specifically cited the KHWIS as having improved the availability of human resources for health information regarding workforce planning, management, and development.
Conclusion: KHWIS data have impacted a range of improvements in health worker regulation, human resources management, and workforce policy and planning at Kenya's ministries of health. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd